Wednesday, April 24

Geek

Start8

Start8 from Stardock turns Windows 8 into a fairly sensible (if artistically inept) update to Windows 7.  It makes the start screen, charms bar, and hot corners go away.  If that's what you want - each item is independently configurable.

And it gives you back a nice, clean, functional - and very configurable - start menu.

For just $4.99 it turns Windows 8 back from a screaming heap of garbage into a practical, useful operating system.  Highly recommended if you find yourself in a situation where that might apply.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:43 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 Sounds like Brad Wardell has himself another winner.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Wednesday, April 24 2013 03:08 PM (+rSRq)

2 Yep.  There are a number of competitors, including the free Classic Shell, but I know who Stardock are and their Windows add-ons have never caused me problems.  (I used ObjectDesktop in the Vista days, and still use Fences.)   

Five bucks converts the Windows 8 non-touch experience from constant aggravation to genuinely pleasant.  This is what HP and other OEMs should be bundling with their hardware, not the egregious Norton.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, April 24 2013 03:44 PM (PiXy!)

3 Also, it highlights the fact that Microsoft's work on the Windows 8 core is perfectly good - it's a solid improvement on 7 in many areas.  It's the remarkably ill-conceived intrusion of the tablet interface onto non-tablet systems that causes all the problems.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, April 24 2013 03:47 PM (PiXy!)

4 I've been able to recommend Win8 to people thanks to Start8.  When I built my new computer several months ago, I was able to pick up Win8Pro for something like $40.  Win8, IMO, is actually a much better OS than Win7 after you fix the stupid tablet interface.

Posted by: Ben at Thursday, April 25 2013 11:09 AM (/Mdmg)

5 Yes, Start8 is very good. Stardock also has a program (that I haven't tried) called ModernMix, which allows you to run Metro apps in separate windows.

Posted by: David Lewis at Thursday, April 25 2013 11:29 AM (BHGNI)

6 Ben, in what ways is Win8 better?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thursday, April 25 2013 01:59 PM (+rSRq)

7 My immediate observations are that the task manager and file copy dialog are better organised and provide more useful information. It's also supposed to boot more quickly and run more effectively on 4+ core processors, but I haven't timed the one and can't judge the other.

On the other hand, even with Start8 to fix the worst problems, Aero's gone. The Flat UI movement has set design back nearly 20 years. (Okay, it's alittlebetter than Windows 95.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, April 25 2013 02:33 PM (PiXy!)

8 Other things:  internal events on timers fire less frequently whenever possible.  This allows the CPU to sleep longer and more often, conserving power.  Not necessarily useful for a desktop but supposed to increase battery life for laptops.
Microsoft had a blog, b8, during the beta, where they talked extensively about the new features.
Frankly, I mostly prefer the new flatter UI.  Every time I go onto a Win7 system now, it feels overly garish.

Posted by: RickC at Friday, April 26 2013 10:45 AM (WQ6Vb)

9 Hmm.  I've set my Windows 7 borders to a translucent grey (or blue-grey) tint; I can certainly see how bolder colours might seem garish.  Windows 8 seems to automatically pastelise everything.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, April 26 2013 12:53 PM (PiXy!)

10 Ahh, I found an example of what I was talking about in comment 8:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6355/intels-haswell-architecture/3

(Pixy, is there a way for me to change the displayed link text so it's not the URL, when using the link inserter?) I'm not sure if this will work or if Anandtech has hotlink protection. If it doesn't work, please edit my comment to remove it? is the specific thing I was trying to find. I don't know if anyone's tested how well this works but in theory it could cut power usage a good amount.

Posted by: RickC at Saturday, April 27 2013 01:22 AM (A9FNw)

11 Huh, inserting the picture with an img tag by using the HTML link in the editor worked in the preview...but the image vanished when I posted.  Also, in Chrome, the Edit button just takes me back to the blog home.

Posted by: RickC at Saturday, April 27 2013 01:24 AM (A9FNw)

12 And ugh, I forgot to mention--I wanted to include the second pic on that page, "Platform Activity Alignment."

Posted by: RickC at Saturday, April 27 2013 01:24 AM (A9FNw)

13 Thanks.  As we get more and more cores in portable devices, being able to intelligently sleepify some or all of those cores becomes more and more important.  I spend most of my time at my desktop, connected to servers running 24x7...  But it matters there too - a 64-core server is rarely going to need all 64 cores at once, and the smarter it is about sleepivation, the lower our hosting bill.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, April 27 2013 02:01 AM (PiXy!)

14 Particularly when we have three racks full of such servers. wink

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, April 27 2013 02:02 AM (PiXy!)

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